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forced to acknowledge that he was one of the smartest and most faithful lads I ever had. When I asked him to do anything, he would fly to do it, but whenever I roughly ordered him to do it, then came the disposition with which I found fault.
4. One day when it was very near noon, I told him to bring up my quadrant.' He was looking another way, and I knew he did not hear me; the next time I spoke I shouted at him, and told him if he did not move, I would help him.
I didn't hear you,' he said, with an independent tone.
His looks, words, and the slow cool manner in which he moved, fired me in a moment, and I grasped him by the collar.
5. I beat him till he sank from my hand against the rail, and I sent one of my men to fetch my quadrant. When it came, I found that the sun had already sunk too low for me to use it. This added fuel to the fire of my madness; quickly seizing the lad by the collar, I led him to the main hatchway, and had the hatch taken off. I then thrust him down, and vowed I would keep him there till his stubbornness was broken. The hatch was then put on, and I went to my cabin.
6. I suffered a good deal that afternoon, not from any prickings of conscience for what I had done, but from my own bad temper. It made me mad to think that I could not conquer that boy,
Quadrant, an instrument much used at sea. ? Hatchway, an opening in the deck covered with a grating,
that I could not break down his cool splendid courage. But I will do it,' I said to myself, I'll starve him into it, or he shall die for his obstinacy.'
7. After supper I went to the hatchway and called out to him, but he returned me no answer. At ten o'clock I called him again, and again got no answer. I might have thought that the flogging had taken away his senses, had not some of the men assured me that they had heard him, not an hour before, talking to himself; so I did not trouble him again until morning.
8. After breakfast I went to the hatchway and called to him once more. I heard nothing from him, nor could I see him. I had not seen him since I put him down there. I called several times, but he made no reply, and yet the same men told me they had heard him talking that very morning. He seemed to be calling on them for help, but he would not ask for me.
9. “He'll beg before he'll starve,' said I, and so determined to let him stay there. I supposed he had crawled forward, in order to make the sailors hear him. Some of the men asked leave to go down, but I refused, and threatened to punish the first man who dared to do so. 10. At noon I went again, and as he did not
me this time I resolved that he should come to the hatchway and ask for me, before I went any more. The day passed away, and when evening came I began to be startled. I thought of the many good qualities the boy had, and of his widowed mother. He had been in the hold thirty-six hours, and quite forty hours without food or drink. He must be too weak to cry out now, It was hard for me to give in, but if he died there from starvation it might go harder with me stili. So at last I made up my mind to go and see him.
II. It was not quite sunset when I had the hatch taken off, and I jumped upon the boxes alone. A little way forward I saw a space where Jack might easily have gone down, and to this point I crawled on my hands. I called out, but could get no answer. A short distance farther was a wide space, which I now remembered had been left open on account of a break in the flooring of the hold, which would let anything that might have been stored there rest directly upon the thin planking of the ship.
12. To this place I made my way, and looked down. I heard the splashing of water, and thought I could detect the sound of a tiny jet or stream. At first I could see nothing ; but as soon as I became used to the dim light, I could distinguish the faint outline of the boy at some distance below
He seemed to be sitting on the broken floor with his feet stretched out against a cask. I called out to him: Jack, are you there?' ‘
And he answered me in a faint, weary voice, ‘Yes, captain, help me! Do help! Bring men, and bring a lantern—the old ship has sprung a leak!'Then
Sprung a leak, water had begun to get into the ship owing to a board having given way.
he added in a more eager tone, Make hasteI will try to hold on till you come back.'
13. I waited to hear no more, but hurried on deck as soon as possible, and returned with a lantern and three men. I leaped down beside the boy, and could scarcely believe my own eyes. Three of the timbers were worm-eaten to the very heart, and one of the outer planks had been broken, and would burst in any moment the boy might leave it. His feet were firmly braced against the plank before him. Half a dozen little jets of water were streaming in about him, and he was wet to the skin. I saw the plank must burst the moment the strain was removed from it, so I made my men brace their feet against it as I lifted him up. Other men were called down with planks and spikes, and with much care and trouble we finally succeeded in stopping the leak, and saving the ship.
14. The plank which had been broken was six feet long by eight inches wide. The damage would have been beyond our reach long before we could have discovered it, and would have sunk us in a very short time. I knew it must have been where the iceberg struck us.
15. Jack Withers was taken to the cabin, and the next day managed to tell his story. Shortly after I threw him down the hold, he crawled forward as well as he could, and when he became used to the dim glimmer, he looked about for a snug place in which to lie, for his limbs were very sore. He went to sleep; and when he awoke he heard a faint sound, like water streaming through a small hole. He went to the open place, and looked down, and was sure that he saw a small jet of water coming up through the bottom of the ship. He leaped down, and in few moments found that the timber had given way, and the stream was increasing in size. He put his hand upon the plank, and discovered that the pressure of water was forcing it inward. He had sense to see that if it gave way, all must go-the ship be lost, and all hands perish.
16. He saw, too, that if he could only keep the broken plank in its place till help came he might save the ship. So he sat himself down upon it, and braced his feet firmly against the cask, and then called for help. But he was too far away ; so low down, with such a mass of cargo about him, that for a long time his voice reached no ears but
At last some of the men heard him, but thought that he was talking to himself. And there he sat, with his feet braced, for four-and-twenty weary hours, the water spurting all over him, and drenching him to the very skin. He had several times thought of going to the hatchway and calling for help, but he knew that the broken plank would be forced in if he left it, for he could feel it heave beneath him. His limbs were racked with pain, but he would not give in. I asked him if he would not have given up if I had not come when I did. He answered, Not while I had any life in me.' He said he did not think of himself, for he was ready to die, but he would save the rest if he